Apparently, Bellmont's wrestling Braves are GOOD ENOUGH.
It was announced recently by Trent McCormick, President of the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association (and Yorktown mentor), that Bellmont has been invited to participate in the third annual coaches association dual team state tourney.
McCormick noted that Adams Central, the 2012 Class A champ and state runner-up last year, will be a part of the Class A field. South Adams, which participated in the first two coaches tourneys, was not on the list of 12 Class A teams released by McCormick.
"After the season I felt we had enough points (to get invited)," stated Bellmont coach Brent Faurote, whose Bellmont teams qualified 15 times in 17 years that the IHSAA hosted a one-class team state tourney, which was held the week following the individual state meet.
The end of the state-sponsored tourney coincided with a rare down-turn in numbers and talent for Faurote's program, which had rattled off 22 consecutive sectional titles to go with all of those team state appearances.
Bellmont was not invited to the first two state tourneys as the coaches used an unusual formula based on individual past performances. Yorktown, which defeated Bellmont only one time in the qualifying Adams Central Team Regional, won the first two coaches tourneys.
"Those first two years we didn't have enough returning guys, This time we had some guys that did well in the tourney and that's what the scoring is based on," added the veteran coach, who will be the head Bellmont coach for the 27th consecutive season in October.
McCormick, a member of the Delta wrestling team in the 1980s when the Eagles made a run of five straight tournament wrestling titles, stated at Team State in January that Bellmont would get invited to the field when "they got good enough."
Apparently, that has happened. Wow, a Bellmont wrestling team good enough to compete with the top teams in the state! When has that ever happened?
"They've tweaked the tourney a little bit in both years, and now they've added four teams in each division," noted Faurote.
"Finding a facility to play host to 36 teams was not easy, so they moved the tourney from Westfield to Ball State. But the meet will be held in a big fieldhouse, not in an arena. There will be just temporary bleachers, so there won't be a lot of room for fans. It won't have the same feeling of the IHSAA tourney we had at a great facility like Center Grove," pointed out Faurote.
Had the IHSAA broke the team mat tourney into classes, as all other states do, they would not have encountered some of the problems which eventually caused the state leaders to ditch what was a great tournament.
This doesn't surprise Faurote, who is critical of the IHSAA for not going to class sports overall, like all other states do.
"Our girls track team should be getting ready to make a run at a third straight state (class) title. It's a shame. Other states have class sports, which really makes things interesting," said Faurote.
Getting into this coaches state meet has impacted the Bellmont wrestling schedule in a huge way. Faurote has been working with BHS A.D. Dale Manis to restructure the BHS slate. Bellmont will break a decades-long tradition and not wrestle in the Yorktown Invitational over Thanksgiving break. Bellmont will also drop out of the New Castle Invitational. Instead, Bellmont will participate in a tourney at Cathedral in Indianapolis, plus the team state tourney set for Jan. 3 at Ball State.
"We're going to have a tough stretch with Mishawaka on Dec. 30 and 31, and then we go to Ball State on Jan. 3. How we do in that state meet might depend on how we come out of a very tough Mishawaka meet," said Faurote.
The following weekend, Bellmont hosts its annual super dual with several of the top 10 teams overall in the state.
Faurote points out that South Bend Adams and Plymouth will be in the BHS tourney this coming year. Starting in 2016, Carroll will join the Bellmont field.
Leo will make a second straight trip to the 2A field and NHC squad Columbia City will make its first appearance in 2015 at Ball State. Churubusco will be back in the Class A field along with Eastside, Prairie Heights, and Central Noble.
The BHS coach feels that it's way too early to predict how Bellmont will compete with Yorktown and other top 2A teams.
The invited 36 are as follows:
Class AAA (Large schools)
Penn, Evansville Mater Dei, Avon, Franklin Community, Bloomington South, Indianapolis Cathedral, Warren Central, Perry Meridian, Carmel, Carroll (Fort Wayne), New Palestine, Westfield.
Class AA (Medium-size schools)
Gibson Southern, Bellmont, Mt. Vernon (Posey), South Bend St. Joseph, Evansville Memorial, Yorktown, Southmont, Rochester, Lebanon, Leo, Franklin County, Columbia City.
Class A (Small schools)
Churubusco, Eastside, Bremen, Tecumseh, West Central, Monrovia, Central Noble, Milan, Westview, Triton Central, Prairie Heights, Adams Central.